Irish renewable energy generation and energy storage group, Gaelectric, has raised €65 million in funding for its portfolio of on-shore wind energy projects on the island of Ireland. The portfolio comprises 164 MW of generation capacity across 13 projects which the Group plans to develop out by 2017, representing a total investment in the region of €250 million. Gaelectric has also concluded a framework agreement with leading German turbine manufacturer Enercon (www.enercon.com) which will see Enercon technology deployed on all the Gaelectric sites covered by the current funding round.
The funding is led by Swedish group, (www.proventuscapitalpartners.se), who specialise in providing development capital through private corporate loans to mid-sized companies for growth. Gaelectric was assisted with the transaction by McCann Fitzgerald and by RBC Capital Markets
The funding provided by Proventus Capital Partners has been complemented by a senior debt package provided by Nord LB (www.nordlb.de). This debt financing has been used to finance the construction of the 13.8 MW wind energy project which is currently being energised by Gaelectric at Carn Hill, Co Antrim.
Commenting on the successful conclusion of its latest funding round, Gaelectric Group Finance Director, Barry Gavin, said: “The funding we have secured will, together with our agreement with Enercon, underpin the delivery of our onshore wind energy portfolio in Ireland which comprises approximately 164 MW of projects and represents a total investment cost of approximately €250 million. We are particularly delighted of the opportunity to partner with Proventus, Nord LB and Enercon, all of whom have international reputations and track records that will be of immediate benefit to Gaelectric.”
Mr. Gavin said: “In our discussions with funders and investors we have been able to provide clear visibility of a portfolio of projects which have been substantially de-risked and which will be commissioned by 2017. We now have 120 MW of wind energy projects with full planning approval and grid connection offers. 18 MW of this portfolio will be generating renewable power by Q1, 2013. Our onshore portfolio in Ireland will create sufficient generation capacity to power the energy needs of 85,000 homes and displace 262,000 tonnes of CO2 per annum”
Mr. Gavin said: “This amount of generation capacity opens up a range of strategically important options to Gaelectric Group. It will allow Gaelectric transition from being a pre-revenue, renewable energy development Group to an energy development and operating Group with significant assets in Ireland producing renewable power, generating turnover and cash for the Group, and further returns for our shareholders and investors.”
Through its energy storage division, Gaelectric Energy Storage (GES), Gaelectric is developing an energy storage project utilising Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) technology at a site near the town of Larne, on the east Antrim coast. Mr. Gavin said: “Our energy storage business is in advanced discussions with a number of infrastructure investors on our flagship 268 MW compressed air energy storage project in Larne. We expect to form a consortium by year end that will construct the project by 2016/2017. This technology will be applied to store surplus renewable energy while also enabling variability balancing on the transmission system.”
Gaelectric is also developing a further pipeline of 510 MW of wind energy projects centred on the US State of Montana to supply power markets in the Pacific North West and California within a 2014 to 2017 timeframe.